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61

The Internet has become a mainstream information tool

Pew Internet & American Life Project have done a survey on how Americans engage online with government, health care providers, the news media, and commercial enterprises. The study shows that Americans have high expectation about the information and services available online. For many Internet users, the web is the first place to which they turn, when they need key information.

Some interesting findings:
- 70% of all American internet users said that they mostly find what they want when they look for information online
- 63% say they expect to find information at a store's Web site about a product they may want to purchase
- If a store provides information online, even if it doesn't sell products at its Web site, 46% said this would make them more likely to go to the physical store to buy the product
- 85% of those who have ever bought products online say that they always (29%) or most of the time (56%) are able to find and buy the products they seek

Links:

  • The report Counting on the Internet

Henrik Olsen - March 10, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: E-commerce (21) 


 

62

How people evaluate a web site's credibility

Consumer WebWatch has published a research report by B. J. Fogg and the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab on how people evaluate web sites' credibility. 100 sites in 10 content categories were studied and total of 2,684 people completed the survey.

When asked to comment on site's credibility, the top 10 issues addressed by the survey participants was:

1. Design Look (46.1%)
2. Information Design/Structure (28.5%)
3. Information Focus (25.1%)
4. Company Motive (15.5%)
5. Information Usefulness (14.8%)
6. Information Accuracy (14.3%)
7. Name Recognition and Reputation (14.1%)
8. Advertising (13.8%)
9. Information Bias (11.6%)
10. Writing Tone (9.0%)

Links:

  • The research report How Do People Evaluate a Web Site's Credibility?
  • Discussion on why visual design is so prominent in the study

Henrik Olsen - March 04, 2003

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: Credibility, Trust and Privacy (6)  Visual design (14) 


 

63

The web has grown into a commercial tool

A study of search behaviour published in march 2002 suggests that the web has evolved from an entertainment into a business and information medium in the period from September 1997 to May 2001. Search topics have shifted from pornography and entertainment to subject related to commerce, travel, employment, or economy (24,7%) and people, places, or things (19,7%).

While search topics have shifted, the study showed little change in user search behaviours. Some key findings:
- Most people submit a single short query (27%)
- Users are viewing fewer search results pages (51% view only one page)
- The use of Boolean operators has increased from 5 to 10 percent

The study included more than one million search queries submitted by more than 200,000 users of the Excite search engine.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - March 02, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Search engines (7) 


 

64

Scrolling is faster that paging

SURL has examined the use of paging vs. scrolling in reading passages of text. The study showed that that it took the participants significantly longer to read text split into multiple pages compared to full text layouts, where they had to scroll.

"Participants stated that they found the Paging condition to be "too broken up," and that they had to "go back and forth" quite a bit to search for information. It is possible then, that for searching as well, viewing more of the document on a single screen facilitated easier scanning."

Links:

  • The article The Impact of Paging vs. Scrolling on Reading Online Text Passages

Henrik Olsen - February 27, 2003

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Navigation (46)  Web page design (23) 


 

65

Investor Relations Website Design

NN/g has tested 42 users performing investment-oriented task on 20 company websites. Some of the results showed that:

- 70% of the users completed the tasks
- 35% of the users couldn't get a copy of the company's latest quarterly report
- 77% couldn't find the high/low share prices for an earlier quarter

Jakob Nielsen concludes that:

- Individual investors are intimidated by overly complex IR sections and need simple summaries of financial data.
- Professional investors are using other sources of financial information and just want management's visions about the company's future
- Both individual and professional investors want company background information and overview of recent news

If you can afford it, NN/g offer a 121 pages report with 65 design guidelines for improving IR usability ($248).

Links:

  • The article Investor Relations Website Design

Henrik Olsen - February 18, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Tips and guidelines (65)  Sections (5) 


 

66

Perceived usability and aesthetics

Usability News has tested the correlation between perceived usability and aesthetics.

The results showed that when the test participant where asked to the predict usability of a site, they ranked the site with balanced colours and layout highest.

However, user satisfaction reported after the sessions were related to successful navigation more than aesthetic appearance.

Links:

  • The article Aesthetics and Usability: A Look at Color and Balance

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2003

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Visual design (14) 


 

67

ResearchIndex (Cite Seer)

ResearchIndex is a scientific literature digital library that aims to improve the dissemination and feedback of scientific literature, and to provide improvements in functionality, usability, availability, cost, comprehensiveness, efficiency, and timeliness. ResearchIndex indexes Postscript and PDF research articles on the Web, and provides these features: o Reference linking o Citation context o Awareness and tracking o Related documents o Similar documents In particular it has a directory of computer science literature broken down into useful categories and a most cited feature.

Links:

  • Computer Science Directory
  • ResearchIndex

ben hyde - February 11, 2003

Permanent link Comments (3)


 

68

Homepage real estate allocation

According to Jakob Nielsen, only 39% of the space of web site front pages is used for areas of user interest (when including browser tool bars and borders). In a study, the following use of browser real estate was found:

- Unused: 20%
- Navigation: 20%
- Content of interest to users: 20%
- Operating system and browser overhead: 19%
- Self-promotions (ads for the site's own stuff): 9%
- Welcome, logo, tagline, and other site identifications: 5%
- Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies"): 5%
- Advertisements: 2%

I especially like the "Filler (useless stock art, such as "smiling ladies")". This is properly what others would call "graphic design" or "branding" elements.

Links:

  • The article Homepage real estate allocation

Henrik Olsen - February 10, 2003 - via Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox Announcement List

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Home pages (2) 


 

69

Usability study of breadcrumb navigation

"This exploratory study was conducted to determine whether participants used the breadcrumb trail as a navigational tool within a site. We found the overall usage of the breadcrumb in site navigation to be low. Breadcrumb users were not found to be more efficient than users who did not use the breadcrumb."

Links:

  • Breadcrumb Navigation: An Exploratory Study of Usage

Henrik Olsen - February 06, 2003 - via WebWord Weblog

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Navigation (46) 


 

70

Should hypertext links be blue and purple?

Luc Carton discusses the ancient question about whether links should be blue and purple.

Findings from study of 100 top American retail sites showed that only 27% of the sites still use the standard blue colour for links. Moreover, 61% of the sites do not use different colours according to whether the links have been visited or not, and only 13% of them use the colour purple for visited links.

On account of this study, Carton concludes that the blue/purple standard no longer exists, and since the main characteristic of a link isn't the colour, but the underlining of the text, colour doesn't matter.

Links:

  • The article Should hypertext links be blue and purple?

Henrik Olsen - January 14, 2003

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: Links (12) 


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